Card Factory first-half revenue down 48% to £100m

Shares of Wakefield-based greeting card and gift retailer Card Factory plc fell about 7% on Tuesday after its results for the six months ended July 31, 2020, showed revenue fell 48.6% to £100.5 million “principally due to the impact of the Covid-19 related mandatory closure of the UK and Ireland store estate.”

Card Factory posted a pretax loss of £22.2 million for the six months compared to a profit of £24.3 million a year earlier — but the firm said it has had an encouraging start to the second half of the year following reopening of its stores.

But the firm said that given the current level of uncertainty it is not possible to give guidance for the full year.

Card Factory’s shares have fallen almost 80% over the last 12 months.

On its current trading and outlook, Card Factory said: “The board is pleased with the trading performance since stores have reopened, and the business has had an encouraging start to the second half of the year.

“Transaction numbers remain below the prior year, but on an improving trend; material gains in average basket value have been maintained in the second half to date.

“We have worked extensively and thoroughly to make sure we are as well prepared as possible for the forthcoming Christmas period.

“Looking forward to the long term, the board is confident that the refreshed growth strategy will deliver sustainable revenue and profit growth, underpinning the reinstatement of the dividend in the medium term and generating value for our shareholders.

“However, in the short term, as well publicised, recovery in the retail sector remains sensitive to spikes in Covid-19 cases and potential local or national restrictions, creating uncertainty about customer footfall and shopping habits.

“It is also too early to determine whether basket mix and average spend patterns, in-store and online, will continue or settle back to pre-Covid-19 levels. 

“Given the level of uncertainty, it is not possible to give guidance as to the expected outturn for the year.

“A trading update will be given on Thursday 14 January 2021.”